Appraising and Grading the Evidence: Tools of the Trade

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 10:50 AM

Regina M. Valdez, MA1
Cecelia L. Crawford, RN, MSN1
June L. Rondinelli, RN, MSN2
1Regional Nursing Research Program, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, Pasadena, CA
2Patient Care Services, Kaiser Permanente, Pasadena, CA

A critical component of the integrative review process is the appraisal and grading of the relevant evidence.  However, reading and assessing the quality of the amassed evidence often creates a feeling of data overload, with many nurses lost in a vast sea of information.  A systematic approach is needed to properly collect and appraise the quality of the evidence and determine its relevance in answering the clinical question.  This presentation will complete the discussion on gathering the evidence, as well as outlining the processes involved in basic evidence appraisal and grading.  Several tools of the trade will be used to illustrate the various steps in the integrative review assessment process, which include (a) systematic review of individual research articles, (b) constructing a table of evidence, (c) ranking the levels of the evidence and (d) grading the body of the evidence.  Additional tools for differentiating qualitative versus quantitative research methods will be discussed in detail.  The theme of commonly associated pitfalls will be continued.  This bridging presentation will emphasize the rigorous systematic process for evidence appraisal and grading, which is needed for the final presentation’s focus on the unbiased synthesis of the evidence.